Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

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BCEagles2014
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Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby BCEagles2014 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:00 pm

I just graduated from Boston College this past May and have been employed at a full-time position in Manhattan since July. I graduated with a degree in Communications and a final GPA of 2.616. I realize my GPA is extremely low and I would do anything to go back in time to fix that, but I am not going to let that stop me from my dream of going to law school.

To give my GPA some perspective, let me give a quick summary of my college experience. In high school, I was near the top of my class with a GPA over 4.0. I was enrolled in the most AP classes out of all the students in my class. I was a member of the lacrosse team, as well as several honors societies and academic clubs. I was extremely diligent about my studies and sports, and did not go to a single party during those high school years. When I went to college, however, I was not used to the structure I had in high school and focused primarily on my social life in lieu of my studies. My GPA was absolutely horrible; sub 2.0 horrible. It was so bad, I was in danger of failing.

I was crushed. I was used to being a perfect student for my entire life. The grades I was getting did not reflect how well I knew I could do. I went into my sophomore year telling myself that I'd do better. My GPA was slightly better but it was still in the low to mid 2's. Despite my attempt to do better, I was just honestly depressed about my freshman year. I found myself thinking that my future was over with those grades so what was the point? My peers were all doing so much better than me and I was stuck at the bottom. I was also in a major that I had no passion for and felt like I was out of place. I was diagnosed with pretty bad depression that year and saw an on-campus therapist almost every day. My grades didn't improve but my mental health and confidence did. I learned to stop comparing myself to how others were doing and to just do the best I could. I spent the entire summer after my sophomore year doing a lot of soul searching and I became a better person for it.

I went into my Junior year energized and more at peace with myself. I didn't know what I wanted to study, but I knew my old major certainly was not for me, so I switched to Communications because of the flexibility it offered. People often give this major a bad reputation, but at BC it's #2 in the nation and my professors were very demanding of me. It was in these classes where I found myself not studying to get the high grade, but to fully take advantage of my education. My Junior year, I received low to mid 3.0 GPA's. It wasn't the +4.0's I was used to, but after my last 2 years I was ecstatic! I felt like I was finally back!

That success continued in my Senior year, never going below a 3.0 again. A couple months after graduation, I accepted a job offer at a telecommunications company in Manhattan. 6 months later, my hard work paid off with a promotion to a managerial position within the company. I'm working harder than I ever had before, and I attribute this success to my ability to to climb out of the low point I was in college and find peace with myself.

I always thought about law school as a possibility, but a few months into working I realized that this is what I wanted to do. With my first paycheck, I bought numerous LSAT books and have been studying everyday after work. I know my GPA will hurt me, so I'm studying as hard as I can to get the best LSAT score possible. I'm doing well on my practice exams and am confident in my ability to get a very high score. I'm setting the bar high so I will not allow myself any room to slack. I am treating the LSAT in a way that anything lower than a 170 is a failure.

I've put a lot of thought into law school and I will not allow my GPA to hold me back from applying to the schools I want to go to. Right now Vanderbilt is my #1 choice, and I am constantly researching what I can do to get in. I am also looking at several other schools around the same caliber.

I know my GPA will automatically reject me from elite law schools, but are schools like Vanderbilt still a possibility. I pray that my grades in my last 2 years of undergrad, a hopefully high LSAT score and my work experience will help my chances. Is this just wishful thinking or do I have a chance? I appreciate any advice and feedback.

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Rigo
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby Rigo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:14 pm

You have a chance at splitter friendly schools, assuming you get a high LSAT.
However, you probably won't get a lot of scholarship $$$. You should think long and hard about if you're willing to take on six figures of debt.

Why do you not want to stay with your current job? It sounds like you're doing well there.
Also, why law school? What are your career goals?

Nomo
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby Nomo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:23 pm

Its going to take a really high LSAT and a lot of luck to get into a good law school. Getting into a good law school at a reasonable price is probably not possible.

I would look elsewhere. What attracts you to law? There is probably another field that is equally good for you (and probably better).

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Nekrowizard
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BCEagles2014
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby BCEagles2014 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:29 pm

My apologies, I should have stated so in my post. My goal is to work in sports management, and a law degree would make me a great candidate for working in that industry. I also took several law classes at BC in which I received A's and were my favorite classes by far. Vanderbilt is #1 in sports law so that's a big reason I want to go there so badly.

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middlebear
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby middlebear » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:30 pm

It's not out of reach, but like others are saying, make sure to keep the debt and job prospects in mind.

The WE is definitely good, 170+ LSAT is good/necessary, and make sure to writer a killer personal statement and maybe an addendum about your grades and depression.

ETA:

I just saw you want to go to Vandy b/c they are first in sports law? Where geographically do you want to work? Those specialty rankings are virtually meaningless and will not help you get a job in a niche field.

arklaw13
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby arklaw13 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:36 pm

BCEagles2014 wrote:My apologies, I should have stated so in my post. My goal is to work in sports management, and a law degree would make me a great candidate for working in that industry. I also took several law classes at BC in which I received A's and were my favorite classes by far. Vanderbilt is #1 in sports law so that's a big reason I want to go there so badly.


Vandy 2L here. I have no idea what the sports law ranking is supposed to mean. We have a sports law class once a year, I think, that the university GC/former athletic director teaches. But nothing else that would be any help to someone wanting to be in sports management.

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Rigo
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby Rigo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:37 pm

Specialty rankings are largely flame.

BCEagles2014
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby BCEagles2014 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:37 pm

Believe me, I am very aware of college debt. BC cost me about $60k/year! I appreciate the warning about debt, but it's a bit dismaying to read that. Is it futile to even apply then? I had hoped that if I did manage to get into a good law school I would have a good chance at getting a good job with a good salary.

BCEagles2014
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby BCEagles2014 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:42 pm

I think I'd like to work near a big city. I've always lived in NY and working in Manhattan has been an incredible experience for me so far.

Thanks for letting me know about the specialty rankings. I think me wanting to go also has to do with my brother going there for undergrad next year and learning more about the University and liking what I see and hear.

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Nekrowizard
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junggn
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby junggn » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:50 pm

Having been (and still am!) on the same boat as you, I'd recommend that you just focus on the LSAT. If you can get a 170+, then you start worrying about explaining your GPA. If you can't? Well, time to really start thinking hard about going to law school.

BCEagles2014
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby BCEagles2014 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:52 pm

Nekrowizard wrote:
BCEagles2014 wrote:Believe me, I am very aware of college debt. BC cost me about $60k/year! I appreciate the warning about debt, but it's a bit dismaying to read that. Is it futile to even apply then? I had hoped that if I did manage to get into a good law school I would have a good chance at getting a good job with a good salary.


Well, uh, maybe if you already owe like $250k, you might as well tack on another $250k on there. I mean, the best-case scenario is you get a job in sports law or whatever making $160k a year. I guess you could pay it off, but it would take you a minute.


Due to work study, as well as my parents graciously taking on the bulk of my tuitions, I only owed about $40k and have been paying off $1k a month now.

jepper
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby jepper » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:55 pm

It is times like these that make me reflect on how much my perspective has changed since discovering this site. So much to learn young OP. For a bit of that perspective, let me share some hopefully helpful information. My GPA is 3.0x and a 170 lsat. I've been out of school for a few years, done some pretty "unique" things, and accumulated some relevant work experience. Took a shit ton of time on my applications and applied the day apps were open. And yes, I got into some really great schools. A lot better schools than I would have thought at the beginning of the process. However, the $$$ they give to a splitter like me, and to a greater extent you (assuming you get a 170+ LSAT), is SHIT. Sure you'll get a great scholarship to a T30 school. You get excited. You start researching these new and "great" options. Guess what happens next.. You realize the options are actually shit for your goals. So then you are stuck with attending the T14 schools at sticker, which is a certifiably insane idea, or your local regional on the cheap. Then you are left with three choices, go into soul-crushing debt, adjust your goals, or don't go.

BCEagles2014
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby BCEagles2014 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:58 pm

jepper wrote:It is times like these that make me reflect on how much my perspective has changed since discovering this site. So much to learn young OP. For a bit of that perspective, let me share some hopefully helpful information. My GPA is 3.0x and a 170 lsat. I've been out of school for a few years, done some pretty "unique" things, and accumulated some relevant work experience. Took a shit ton of time on my applications and applied the day apps were open. And yes, I got into some really great schools. A lot better schools than I would have thought at the beginning of the process. However, the $$$ they give to a splitter like me, and to a greater extent you (assuming you get a 170+ LSAT), is SHIT. Sure you'll get a great scholarship to a T30 school. You get excited. You start researching these new and "great" options. Guess what happens next.. You realize the options are actually shit for your goals. So then your stuck with attending the T14 schools at sticker, which is a certifiably insane idea, or your local regional on the cheap. Then you are left with three choices, go into soul-crushing debt, adjust your goals, or don't go.


Well that was certainly depressing to read. I've never wanted to do something more in my life than I do about going to law school. To hear it's all for nothing is pretty discouraging.

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Dog
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby Dog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:06 pm

You might be able to get into t14s but they'd cost you a ton of money. I know some people with sub 3.0 GPAs have gotten small scholarships to Northwestern before (60k and under).

Why do you want to go to law school so bad? Your current gig doesn't sound awful.

BCEagles2014
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby BCEagles2014 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:12 pm

Dog wrote:You might be able to get into t14s but they'd cost you a ton of money. I know some people with sub 3.0 GPAs have gotten small scholarships to Northwestern before (60k and under).

Why do you want to go to law school so bad? Your current gig doesn't sound awful.


It's a nice job and have been referred to as a rising star within the company, but I just don't see myself doing this type of work for the rest of my life. I can't help shake a feeling that i have a calling for something else. When I think of law school, I am filled with a burning desire to pursue it. I can't explain it and I'm sure it sounds whimsical to outsiders, but I'm sticking with my gut. Doing so in all aspects of my life seems to have worked well for me so far.

BCEagles2014
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby BCEagles2014 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:14 pm

By the way, does caliber of undergraduate education play a factor in the admissions process? BC is currently ranked #31 and is considered a tier 1 school. I would hope the tier of school plays a factor.

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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:16 pm

This discussion will be more helpful to you once you have an actual LSAT score.

I may be wrong, but I thought that Michigan State University law school had the top sports management program + journal.

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Rigo
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby Rigo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:17 pm

A rising star with a promising career? Law school may be the worst decision of your life.

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Dog
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby Dog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:20 pm

BCEagles2014 wrote:By the way, does caliber of undergraduate education play a factor in the admissions process? BC is currently ranked #31 and is considered a tier 1 school. I would hope the tier of school plays a factor.


Prestige of the undergrad school isn't factored in the USNWR law school rankings. It's generally considered to matter little to none. If you went to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, etc. it might be a small bump. You'll probably find the reputation of BC does nothing to help you. Just giving you the honest truth.

Don't make the mistake of thinking because your gut has served you well thus far it will continue to do so. Law school should be a calculated decision, not chasing after some difficult to describe burning feeling in your gut.

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LoganCouture
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby LoganCouture » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:22 pm

BCEagles2014 wrote:
Dog wrote:You might be able to get into t14s but they'd cost you a ton of money. I know some people with sub 3.0 GPAs have gotten small scholarships to Northwestern before (60k and under).

Why do you want to go to law school so bad? Your current gig doesn't sound awful.


It's a nice job and have been referred to as a rising star within the company, but I just don't see myself doing this type of work for the rest of my life. I can't help shake a feeling that i have a calling for something else. When I think of law school, I am filled with a burning desire to pursue it. I can't explain it and I'm sure it sounds whimsical to outsiders, but I'm sticking with my gut. Doing so in all aspects of my life seems to have worked well for me so far.


Do you have a professional network that would help you land a job in sports management? "Sports law" is generally a really unicorn/niche field that is hard to break into without experience/good contacts.

Disclaimer: 0L.

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Rigo
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby Rigo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:23 pm

Dog wrote:
BCEagles2014 wrote:By the way, does caliber of undergraduate education play a factor in the admissions process? BC is currently ranked #31 and is considered a tier 1 school. I would hope the tier of school plays a factor.

Prestige of the undergrad school isn't factored in the USNWR law school rankings. It's generally considered to matter little to none. If you went to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, etc. it might be a small bump. You'll probably find the reputation of BC does nothing to help you. Just giving you the honest truth.

Yeah not at all, OP. BC ain't that prestigious anyways in the scope of things, sorry to say.

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Rigo
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Re: Can I get into a good law school with a low GPA?

Postby Rigo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:24 pm

jepper wrote:It is times like these that make me reflect on how much my perspective has changed since discovering this site. So much to learn young OP. For a bit of that perspective, let me share some hopefully helpful information. My GPA is 3.0x and a 170 lsat. I've been out of school for a few years, done some pretty "unique" things, and accumulated some relevant work experience. Took a shit ton of time on my applications and applied the day apps were open. And yes, I got into some really great schools. A lot better schools than I would have thought at the beginning of the process. However, the $$$ they give to a splitter like me, and to a greater extent you (assuming you get a 170+ LSAT), is SHIT. Sure you'll get a great scholarship to a T30 school. You get excited. You start researching these new and "great" options. Guess what happens next.. You realize the options are actually shit for your goals. So then you are stuck with attending the T14 schools at sticker, which is a certifiably insane idea, or your local regional on the cheap. Then you are left with three choices, go into soul-crushing debt, adjust your goals, or don't go.

This is a good post.

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Nekrowizard
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